VC Speaks on Pacific Tertiary Education and the Role of ICTs
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Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP VC&P during his presentation in Manila.
“The University of the South Pacific (USP) is taking an increasingly larger role in offering solutions to the major educational challenges facing the Pacific Islands”, said Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President.
He made the comment while presenting during the open session at the ADB Headquarters in Manila on 6 July, 2017 on Pacific tertiary education and the role of ICTs, two key areas that USP has major regional responsibility and in which ADB is actively engaged.
“High quality tertiary education is a basic requirement of economic and societal success in a knowledge dominated, open, competitive and uncertain world” he said.
Professor Chandra further stated that knowledge intensity of economies is increasing rapidly and higher education is one of the major determinants of the prosperity of countries and Pacific societies need a high level of participation in tertiary education to secure its future with value and dignity in the world system.
According to Professor Chandra, there was no substitute for increasing the participation ratios in tertiary education and uplifting the quality of its output while increasing access to, and quality of, primary and secondary education. Level of participation in higher education in the Pacific Islands remains amongst the lowest in the world.
USP has also been actively involved in training of teachers in Pacific Islands to ensure effective delivery of quality education.
“USP has been leading the co-ordination of the production of regional frameworks for technical and vocational education and the framework for ICT in Education,” Professor Chandra noted.
Professor Chandra further spoke on the challenges facing tertiary education in the Pacific region, crucial role of tertiary education in the new knowledge-dominated world system, low levels of tertiary development in the Pacific and how ICT developments in the Pacific can assist in enhancing education.
His presentation also focused on the Regional ICT Initiatives; challenges in leveraging ICT in education; Pacific solutions for PICs to be knowledge societies; and USP’s role in addressing the challenges faced.
Professor Chandra mentioned it is essential that the level, access, and quality of tertiary education improves in the Pacific for without that, the PICs will be condemned to dependence and low-value work and its vast ocean resources will be exploited by others
“There is also a need for rapid development in technology and pedagogy to support access to and quality of tertiary education,” he explained.
Professor Chandra stressed the need for more collaborative arrangement within regional organisations and development partners for better alignment of educational priorities and resourcing and monitoring of outcomes.
Participants at the presentation made by Professor Chandra on Pacific tertiary education and role of ICTs.
He added that while effective relationships between USP and national institutions are essential and is working well, it is imperative that Australia, New Zealand, ADB and others continue to support quality tertiary education for the Pacific.
“There should also be an effective and optimal use of ICT for sustained delivery of quality tertiary education to all Pacific people—but ensuring that we are preparing for tomorrow rather than today; and we are not dragged down by legacy systems and thinking,” Professor Chandra added.
The University will work towards the co-ordination of the production of regional frameworks for technical and vocational education and the framework for ICT in Education.
The presentation was well received by around 30 staff members of ADB with interest in the Pacific. A number of questions and comments were made which ensued a lively discussion on the issues and challenges both in Pacific Tertiary education as well ICT in education.
Professor Rajesh Chandra and the Director, Development, Marketing, Communications and Alumni, Mr. Jaindra Karan made an official visit to ADB Headquarters in Manila from 4 -7 July 2017. During this period USP and ADB signed a cooperation agreement to boost knowledge collaboration between the two organisations.
ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Mr. Bambang Susantono and Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President, participated in the signing ceremony at ADB Headquarters in Manila on 5 July 2017.
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